The pandemic gave many employees a break from the workplace. It also gave them time to embrace new perspectives on traditional workplace models. As employers gradually get back to business as usual, many employees are searching for a new normal. You’ll need to reassess your employee retention strategies to keep them on board.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Rate Report shows that businesses need employees, but workers aren’t always responding. Some employees don’t want to go back to their old jobs. Of those who returned, some are simply walking away.
- Tallied total job openings: 10.1 million
- Total hires: 6.7 million
- Total Separations: 5.6 million
- “Quits” increased by 2.9%
- Layoffs/discharges, zero change
How do you keep good employees from walking away?
Employee retention strategies work best when you find creative ways to give employees what they want. Employee goals haven’t changed much. They’ve always wanted better income, improved working conditions, job flexibility, better benefits, and a better work-life balance. The work-from-home option is a new must-have.
1. Offer a better income
Retaining employees isn’t always about money. For example, some white-collar employees have said that they would willingly give up a portion of their salary if they could keep a work-at-home option.
For lower-paid workers, money became a critical bottom line during the pandemic. Many hourly workers toiled long hours and endured health risks for low take-home pay. A Forbes Magazine article, “What Does A Worker Want?” examined several current research studies and reached several conclusions.
- Hourly wages have remained stagnant for years.
- Employers must increase their hourly wages to attract and retain workers.
- Employees can usually find a better job somewhere else.
2. Find new ways to improve traditional working conditions
Health, safety, and respect are concerns for some workers. It’s often a matter of changing attitudes and implementing safety programs. An NPR series, “Where Are the Workers,” talks about customers yelling at restaurant workers. Another report discusses how while 1,000 meatpacking plant workers contracted COVID, some managers were betting on the outcomes. A Time article, “Hourly Workers Are Demanding Better Pay…” talks about the dangers of deicing planes and loading bags in Montana’s winter weather.
3. Incorporate flexible options into every job
Hourly jobs often come with long workdays that restrict family interaction. Most hourly workers don’t have a work-at-home option. One segment of the NPR series focused on one restaurant worker who left his job after the pandemic. His time off had allowed him to engage with his children instead of working 50 to 60 hours a week. Work-at-home employees want better virtual communication but fewer Zoom meetings.
4. Upgrade employee benefits
The pandemic highlighted the need for a different take on benefits. Some workers who became COVID-infected during the pandemic had no paid time off. Others went into debt due to high uninsured medical bills. Many women still can’t return to work because they need better child care options. Employees working from home want their employers to provide funding for their home office spaces.
5. Allow employees to create a better work/life balance
The Psychology Today article, What Do Employees Want When They Return to the Office? provides insight into remote employees’ concerns. After evaluating post-pandemic employee survey data, Greg Tsipursky Ph.D. concluded that employees want a better work-life balance.
Working at home helped many employees reach this elusive goal. Now, over two-thirds of the remote workers want to work at home either full or part-time. Two-fifths of those interviewed would leave their jobs if they didn’t have a work-at-home option. For hourly workers, changing jobs or careers sometimes helps workers find the balance they need.
6. Continue work from home options
Technology has always made virtual employment a possible but lesser-used employment option. Employers weren’t always on board in the past, but the pandemic made it unavoidable. Thanks to virtual jobs, many employees continued working during the pandemic. In addition, they have demonstrated that remote workers are often more productive and happier. However, now that offices are reopening, not all employees want to return.
Talk to your employees
Greg Tsipursky Ph.D. found that employers often believe that their employees want the same things they do. He believes that examining objective data is the only way to eliminate this “blind spot.”
The pandemic changed what motivates employees to remain on a job. It forced all employees to decide what was important to them; their careers and their families. Asking employees what they want is the best way to find out what they need.
Contact Health Consultants Group
To learn more about employee retention strategies, give us a call at (800) 367-2482. Or visit our contact page today!